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Bay Area animal shelters report spike in adoptions amid pandemic

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Animal shelters nationwide are reporting surges in adoption during the coronavirus pandemic.

If there’s a silver lining to staying at home indefinitely, it’s that Bay Area animals are being well taken care of. Most major shelters are closed to the public, but adoptions by appointment and animal fostering are ongoing. 

“We’re finding that a lot of people are coming to us, because they’ve maybe always wanted to adopt an animal, or maybe now they’re realizing that something is missing in their life,” Buffy Martin Tarbox said. “And an animal companion might help fill that void that they are actually experiencing right now.”

Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA has seen an increase in adoptions, while other local shelters have found foster homes for nearly all their animals.

Berkeley, Alameda, and Contra Costa County placed most of their animals in foster homes in the first few days of shelter in place. Oakland animal services has seen the numbers of animals being fostered double, and San Francisco SPCA says more than 5,000 people have expressed interest in fostering. 

“We know that animals are great companions, especially for people who are sheltering in place right now,” Tarbox said. “They ease loneliness, they ease stress, they ease anxiety.”

Many Bay Area shelters are also offering support to those whose ability to take care of their pets has been compromised due to COVID-19.

“We are actually operating a pet food bank for people who need pet food at this time,” Tarbox said. “Either for financial difficulties, or that they actually cannot safely leave their homes right now.”

Shelters encourage pet owners to have a plan in place, in the event that they become sick or financially unable to care for their pet.

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